Social distancing and self-isolation are now becoming very real for everyone across the globe. If you are not already self-isolating, or considering it, there is a high chance you will be in the coming months. As we’re adjusting to a more homebound lifestyle – at least for the time being – we need to start looking at the positives that it can bring.
As travel lovers, the thought of staying put for the next few weeks/months sounds rather intimidating. However, self-isolating is the most responsible thing to do at this stage. So, as we’re all getting a whole lot familiar with our houses, we’ve decided to come up with a few ideas to keep busy (read: stay sane) at home.
Curb your boredom with these top tips to keep yourself busy while self-isolating.
Virtually tour museums around the world
Just because all travel plans and museum visits are on hold right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t still get your museum fix. A number of museums around the world have free virtual tours available online.
Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring you virtual tours and online exhibits from some of the most famous museums around the world.
In addition to Google’s massive collection, the Louvre offers virtual tours of their Egyptian antiquities collection, the remains of the Louvre’s Moat as well as Galerie d’Apollon. Madrid's Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza has its Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670 exhibit on virtual view. The Vatican Museums offer 360-degree tours of the Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and more, and the Smithsonian also has a self-guided tour of the National Museum of Natural History in New York.
StateoftheART, a gallery in Cape Town, has an online gallery that offers a visual feast for art lovers. Their 10 year virtual presence makes it easy for them to operate under physical restrictions. The gallery represents artists from around South Africa and alongside the exceptional work that can be browsed at leisure, you’ll also find artist films, interviews and articles.
Norval Foundation is providing inspiration beyond isolation, offering #60SecondArt digital stories via YouTube, Instagram and Facebook as well as virtual 360-degree “walk-about” tours, giving art lovers not only access to the museum spaces but also to paintings, sculptures, installations and even to (local and international) collaborators.
Listen to the opera and other symphonies
Rather than cancelling their performances entirely, symphonies around the world are rather live streaming their performances. The Philharmonie Berlin is closed until 19 April, but has opened its digital library of performances, filled with more than 600 shows. Use the voucher code BERLINPHIL before 31 March to get free access to all concerts and films. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are also live streaming their performances on YouTube.
The Metropolitan Opera is offering free opera streams each evening. Each performance will become available at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be viewable for 20 hours. OperaVision also offers free recorded performances from all over the world.
Follow the hashtag #TogetherAtHome on Twitter to keep up with pop artists also streaming their performances. So far, we’ve seen Coldplay’s Chris Martin and John Legend.
Airbnb has now added a bunch of online experiences to their Experiences offering. From learning to tango with a Latin Grammy nominee to learning how to make Swedish pastries with a pro baker, a wine class with a wine expert in Portugal, meditation classes with a Japanese Buddhist monk, meeting the dogs of Chernobyl and a cook up with a Moroccan family.
You can still travel the world and experience different cultures, traditions and cuisines - all from the comfort of your home. It's also a great way to keep on supporting the tourism industry!
GetYourGuide have also launched a series of online experiences, allowing you to travel the world from your home. You can do a virtual tour of ancient Rome or of the Acropolis in Athens.
Or perhaps you'd be interested in learning about the stories from the French Quarter in New Orleans or an interactive Jack the Ripper tour? Those looking to better their culinary skills can join a live virtual cooking class with an Italian chef or a virtual pizza making class. While cultural bofs can join a tour of the Louvre or join an official Met Museum guide on an online tour of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Explore national parks
Get a dose of nature – even if it’s a virtual dose. Virtual visitors can travel through the trails of Yellowstone National Park, as well as the Yosemite National Park.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge in South Africa has launched free virtual safaris that are available on its social media channels to all its followers. Tintswalo’s ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris include video footage of actual sightings, as well as some of the exhilarating encounters experienced by its game rangers on patrol. Videos are uploaded daily on all Tintswalo’s social media channels.
You can also visit these famous Cape Town locations from your living room.
Travel the world via travel TV shows
We’re all going to be doing a whole of Netflix binging over the next few weeks. Keep your travel spirit alive by catching up on all of the latest travel related shows on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Speaking of which, Netflix gift cards are great gifts for anyone having a birthday soon!
Netflix travel show recommendations
Hulu travel show recommendations
- Born to Explore with Richard Wiese
- Tales by Light
- Epic Drives
- Planet Earth
- Ugly Delicious
- Somebody Feed Phil
- Parts Unknown
- Girl Eats World
- An Idiot Abroad
- Chef’s Table
- Travels with my Father
Amazon Prime recommendations
- The Amazing Race (also on Amazon)
- Basic Versus Baller: Travel at Any Cost
- Huang’s World
- Man vs. Wild (also on Amazon)
- Travel Man: 48 Hours in…
- Rick Steves’ Europe (also on Amazon)
- Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
- James May: Our Man in Japan
- The Grand Tour
- Locked up Abroad
- Hotel Impossible
- Great British Railway Journeys
- Gordon’s Great Escape
There are, of course, many more options available. And if you want to explore even more options, use a VPN (like ExpressVPN) to access catalogues from different countries. It opens your viewing world to so many more options!
Do an online course
You might as well use your extra free time to finally complete all of those online courses that you’ve been talking about! Check out resources like Skillshare, Udemy, Docebo, WizIQ, Adobe Captivate Prime, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning.
Udemy includes courses on web development, business, IT & software, office productivity, personal development, design, marketing, health & fitness, lifestyle, photography and music. Popular online courses on Udemy include:
Sign up to The Travelling House Sitters course on How to Become a Housesitter to get you prepared for when you can start traveling again.
Also remember that Ted Talks are free! Check out this Ted Talk with Alanna Shaikh on why COVID-19 is hitting us now and how we can prepare for the next outbreak.
Learn a new language
Why not start learning a new language while you’re at home? Try out language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel.
Make a photo album of your past travel adventures
Now is the time to finally make that photo album of your favourite travel adventures. There are loads of online platforms where you can design your travel photo album online and get it posted through to you. We love the service offered by Blurb! They have a range of beautiful templates available which makes it super easy to design and make your own bookstore quality travel photo books. Travel photo albums start at $14.99 and they ship to over 70 countries. You get 35% off your first album!
Gamers, this is your time to shine! Whether you’re playing solo or joining a server to play against/with other players – there are loads of options available. Sign up with Steam to play some of the top games online or update your gaming collection with new devices and games.
And if you aren’t much of a player, but keen to watch live streams then check out Twitch.
Read books (or listen to them)
Update your Kindle and make your way through the latest top sellers. Check out this list with the top sellers in travel writing to keep your wanderlust happy for the time being.
Or sign up to Audible to get a collection of audio books.
Catch up with your favourite podcasts
Whether you’re a massive crime podcast fan or prefer something a little bit lighter, there is definitely a Podcast suitable to your mood. The best places to listen to podcasts are iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Overcast and Pocket Cast.
There are also some great podcasts relating to travel – whether its sharing travel stories, helpful tips or how to create a nomadic life. A few good ones to look out for include The Thought Card, The Offebeat Life, JUMP, Andy Steves Travel Podcast, Chronicles Abroad, On She Goes and Women on the Road.
Pull out that craft box from the back of your cupboard, or stock up with new supplies to let your creative side roll. DIY craft ideas include painting, scrapbooking, sewing, knitting, beading, or macramé.
Learn an instrument
Dedicate your new-found time to music and learn an instrument that you've always wanted to play. Preferably not drumming (for the sake of your neighbours also in self-isolation).
Try out new recipes
Get creative with trying out new recipes while you’re hauled up at home. Make sure to include some immune booster recipes to keep you healthy!
Just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean that you get a ‘get-out-of-exercising-free’ card! It’s so important to keep fit and healthy, especially in times like these. Exercise has proven benefits for mental wellbeing and can be a welcome break from other daily stress (which we are ALL dealing with right now!).
Below are a few great free resources for at-home fitness for every level of dedication:
Tidy up your house
Maybe today’s the day that you finally Marie Kondo your house? It’s time for a spring clean – clear out your wardrobe, sort through that pile of magazines, empty out your pantry and tidy up your office. Also, perhaps a good time to disinfect everything and deep clean your house?
Dust off the games and settle in for a night of competitive fun – that’s if you’re not all alone in your self-isolation cave. If you are alone, then you can check out this list of board games that you can get on your phone.
Make a travel bucket list
You can still fantasize right? While we may seem in the thick of it now with little hope of freely traveling anytime soon, the day will come when we can all safely travel again. So, in the meantime keep dreaming, keep planning and keep adding to that travel bucket list!
Keep in touch with friends and family
Self-isolation can get extremely lonely, especially if you are living alone! Remember that you aren’t the only one going through this so make sure to regularly check in with your friends and family. Do group video calls with your friends and family – seeing their faces will do wonders for your mental health! Make use of Facetime, Whatsapp videos, Google Hangouts and Zoom!
Hang tight everyone – we’ll get through this!
Travel tip shared by Bridget for Travel Dudes